Chances are, I don’t love your New Year’s Resolution to lose weight.

I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with a Master’s Degree in Human Nutrition and an emphasis in Eating Disorders and Obesity, so maybe I am extra sensitive to it, but I don’t love when women resolve to lose weight in the New Year.

What happens when you cannot meet your goal by the end of the year?

Do you consider your year a fail?

Are you going to crash diet, go on a juice cleanse, start skipping meals or a combination of those just to meet your goal?

My evidence based education has taught me that weight loss by any of those methods I mentioned above are an indicator of future weight gain in excess of what weight was lost.

Read that again.

Weight that you lose by crash dieting, juice cleanses or skipping meals means eventually you gain all that weight and then some back. Initially, you will lose weight… but it will come back.

Why is this the case?

Extreme weight loss measures actually decrease the amount of calories you need everyday to maintain your weight as a defense mechanism against the rapid weight loss.  And the action you’ve taken to lose that weight so fast is not something you can do for the rest of your life. So when you return to your ‘normal’ way of eating, you consume more than your body needs and therefore you gain the weight back and then some.

I know the pressure society puts on women’s bodies and I despise it.

But, I’ve experienced it.

I’ve lived it.

I know how hard it is to accept your new body after having a baby or two (or more). Because society tells us that ‘bouncing back’ after having a baby is a requirement even though it is not reality.

Aging also can come with weight gain… thanks hormones.

I have worked hard to accept my body that after two pregnancies in two and a half years and two c-sections, now has wider hips, a no longer flat tummy and curves in places they had never been before. So I can understand why a New Year’s resolution to lose weight may feel like it could solve that difficulty accepting a new body.

To truly show your new body some love and appreciation, don’t take an extreme measure to lose weight – try some of these small but beneficial changes. Both your mental and physical health will improve!

  • Drink more water – keeping hydrated helps to maintain a steady appetite.
  • Move your body more in a way that you love – if this means trying new classes at the gym or on YouTube, go for it! Find a way to move your body in a way that you enjoy so that you feel excited to exercise and are therefore less likely to stop doing.
  • Eat food that you enjoy, even the treats – when we restrict specific foods or ensure food groups, it makes the likelihood that you’ll overindulge or binge that food higher. Allowing yourself to eat foods that you enjoy in moderation teaches our brains that those foods won’t suddenly go away and lessens your drive to overeat them. Sounds backwards, I know, but I promise it is true.
  • Get outside more – Being outside helps to keep your body moving and away from screens. Your body also makes Vitamin D from the sun and it is an important nutrient for many functions in your body. Plus, how can you feel bad when you’re outside in the sunshine.
  • Add more whole fruits and vegetables to your meals – the fiber in these foods help keep you feeling full (so you’re less likely to eat more between meals) and the nutrients they provide your body are all important in making sure your body is working at it’s fullest potential.
Can you do all of these things for the rest of your life?

Yes!

Can all of these things result in weight loss?

Yes!

Can all of these things make you happier?

Yes!

By implementing some (or all) of these things into your daily living, you are making lifestyle changes that can last forever.

So instead of resolving to lose weight in the New Year…

  • Resolve to drink more water.
  • Resolve to get outside more.
  • Resolve to move your body more.
  • Resolve to eat more whole fruits and vegetables.
  • Resolve to stop restricting foods or food groups and just enjoy food again.

Your body is perfect just the way it is, so show yourself some true love in the New Year by implementing something that you can do for yourself forever.

In the words by Jax in the song “Victoria’s Secret:”

“I know Victoria’s secretAnd, girl, you wouldn’t believeShe’s an old man who lives in OhioMaking money off of girls like meCashin’ in on body issuesSellin’ skin and bones with big boobs
I know Victoria’s secretShe was never made for me and you.”
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